• East Devon residents worried about health services as bed cut plans loom

    12th September 2014 | News | Claire
  • The news comes as the North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) prepares to reveal its plans for community hospital bed closures next Wednesday (17 September).

    Hundreds of residents in the East Devon constituency have completed my questionnaire, which will form the basis of my manifesto, on which I will run for Parliament on next year.

    I asked which services they would choose to protect from budget cuts and around 80 per cent selected health services.

    During my canvassing sessions, local residents are telling me that they fear for the future of our community hospitals.

    The government claims that the NHS is ring-fenced. While simultaneously forcing health trusts to make millions of pounds of “efficiency savings.”

    The NEW Devon CCG has a hole in its budgets to the tune of about £14m, for this financial year alone.

    The CCG is understood to be proposing a reduction in-patient beds in Axminster, Honiton, Ottery St. Mary, Seaton and Sidmouth.

    If this happens, it is possible that more people could be sent to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, which is full most of the time and needs to discharge its patients to community hospitals, for rehabilitation.

    Health bosses had promised to release a consultation document, with information about plans for East Devon’s community hospitals, by the beginning of August.

    Now it has been confirmed that the release date will be Wednesday (17 September) at the CCG’s annual general meeting, at Exeter Racecourse, starting at 2.30pm.

    Devon County Council’s health and well-being scrutiny committee will examine the plans at its meeting on Thursday 17 November.

    At June’s health scrutiny committee, CCG managers claimed that the current configuration of local hospitals was economically inefficient.

    However, when I asked about the costs of the existing service compared with the costs of any new service, managers could not say how much the new service was expected to cost. 

    Surely, health staff providing care in people’s homes will mean that they spend more time travelling and less time nursing, which could result in poorer care?

    And what about those people who don’t have relatives to care for them at home, or whose relatives are too frail to help, or need care themselves?

    My survey which is for residents living in the East Devon constituency, will remain open until 31 December.

    If you haven’t done so already please do complete my survey! – link here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/eastdevonpriorities 

    I am aiming to release my manifesto in the new year.

    Photograph:  Ottery St Mary Hospital.